Rookie Corner – 352 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 352

A Puzzle by Modica

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.

A belated review by Prolixic follows.

It’s always a good sign when most of the comments highlight minor points in the clues.  Overall, this was enjoyable and well constructed.  The commentometer reads as 2 / 27 or 7.4%.


1 Turned out any cop is able to provide cover (6)
CANOPY – An anagram (turned out) of ANY COP.

4 Naughty Boris questions content (6)
RISQUE – The answer is hidden (content) in the second and third words of the clue.

8 Unfortunate long wait for somewhere to get your head down abroad (5-3)
WAGON LIT – An anagram (unfortunate) of LONG WAIT.

10 Support the Italian touring unknown country (6)
BRAZIL – T three-letter word for a woman’s supporting garment and the Italian word for “the” go around (touring) a letter used in algebra to indicate an unknown quantity.

11 Weapon captured by minesweeper heading west (4)
EPEE – The answer is hidden in (captured by) and reversed (heading west) in the fourth word of the clue.

12 Bedroom has child’s toy returned for your convenience (10)
CHAMBERPOT – A seven-letter word word for a bedroom followed by a reversal (returned) of a three-letter word for a child’s toy.

13 Could I be an example of one? (5,7)
ROMAN NUMERAL – V, X, L, C, D and M would be other examples of this numbering system.

16 Smooth office worker before start of duties is unlikely to lose it (4-8)
EVEN-TEMPERED – A four-letter word meaning smooth and a four-letter word for an office worker followed by a three-letter word meaning before and the initial letter (start) of duties.

20 Artists who leave their mark (10)
TATTOOISTS – Cryptic definition of those who produce inked designs on the skin of their clients.

21 Ripped apart by storm with no trouble (4)
TORN – A seven-letter word for a violent twisting wind storm without a three-letter word meaning trouble.

22 Mixing oil and mud results in mathematical values (6)
MODULI – An anagram (mixing) of OIL MUD.  Whilst most of the surface readings of the clues are good, this is a notable exception.  

23 Transaction without a conscious state (8)
DELAWARE – A four-letter word for a transaction without the letter A followed by a five-letter word meaning conscious.

24 Accepting thanks ahead of George perhaps (6)
TAKING – A two-letter word meaning thanks followed by the type of rule of which George was an example.

25 Me and my pals with a little 7Up. It’s all gone now (4,2)
USED UP – A two-letter word meaning me and my pals followed by the abbreviation for the answer to 7 down and the UP from the clue.  Some editors would not like 7Up with the un-indicated requirement to split it to provide the wordplay elements.  Here 7 Up would have been a valid alternative.


1 Support top dog (8)
CHAMPION – Double definition meaning to support a cause and a winner.

2 Loose moose. Next in line could capture it (5)
NOOSE – Start the second word of the clue with the next letter in the alphabet to the current starting letter using the sequence of loose and moose.

3 Nut running around Long Island gets bird (7)
PELICAN – A five-letter word for a type of nut around the abbreviation for Long Island.

5 One medic initially invites British queen for supper (7)
IMBIBER – The letter representing one followed by a two-letter abbreviation for a medic, the initial letter of invites, the single-letter abbreviation for British and a two-letter abbreviation for the queen.

6 Dance when leaderless group nearly annoy the French (9)
QUADRILLE – A five-letter word for a group without the initial letter (leaderless) followed by a four-letter word meaning annoy without the last letter (nearly) and the French masculine singular form of the.

7 Boss man who is owed money loses crown (6)
EDITOR – A seven-letter word for a someone owed money without the initial letter (loses crown).

9 I’m saturated, confused and suffering from shock (11)
TRAUMATISED – An anagram (confused) of IM SATURATED.

14 Open mouthed when a lorry receives three points (9)
AWESTRUCK – The A from the clue and a five-letter word for a lorry around the abbreviation for West, East and South.

15 Salty stream of sorrow? (8)
TEARDROP – Cryptic definition for something produced when crying.  I agree with the comments that one of these hardly constitutes a stream.

17 Posh schoolboy has memo returned with one article added (7)
ETONIAN – Reverse (returned) a four-letter word for a memo followed by the letter representing one and the two-letter indefinite article.  Be careful about repeating wordplay indicators.  Here both returned and one are repetitions of devices previously used.

18 Nine goddesses accept 150 bundles of tissues (7)
MUSCLES – A five-letter word word the nine goddesses of ancient Greece around the Roman numerals for 150.  To make the cryptic reading not read A accept B (when it should be A accepts B), perhaps accepting would be better

19 A different tea suggested when you do this (3,3)
EAT OUT – A reverse anagram where the first three letters followed by an anagram indicator would produce TEA.

21 Drawn to United (5)
TOWED – The TO from the clue followed by a three-letter word meaning united or married.

19 comments on “Rookie Corner – 352

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed that. Well-crafted clues that all slotted together smoothly.
    Thanks Modica, a very good puzzle in our opinion.

  2. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Modica.

    This was very enjoyable and all fell into place quickly with no major concerns at all. At one point I suspected a pangram but that didn’t quite materialise.

    I think it’s a bit of a stretch, even with the question mark, to define 15d as a stream; it would be fine if the answer were plural and I did like the alliteration.

    The surface of 25a doesn’t read well starting with “me” and some editors will expect a separation indicator to split 7Up for the wordplay. Interestingly in America the drink is actually branded as 7 Up, so you could resolve both these issues with something like: “A little 7Up in New York given to my pals and me. It’s gone now.”

    Those are both very minor points and overall this was a lot of fun. I ticked 4a (a big smile for this one), 10a, 13a, 5d and 21d.

    Many thanks, Modica, and very well done. More like this soon please.

  3. It’s a big tick from me also. Pretty straightforward but very nicely clued & to my inexpert eye no repetition & nice surfaces. The sleeping carriage was new to me but otherwise plain sailing with the Boris lurker my pick of the bunch – even I can spot them when there’s a Q. I’ll await the views of the forensic team with interest.
    Thanks Modica

  4. Crikey, some people in he UK are up late!
    Thanks Modica, this was very enjoyable and as this is your fifth Rookie it is probable that you cannot call yourself a Rookie any more and you should be moving on to greater things.
    I really liked 23a (I lived there for a while), 3d (one of my favourite birds), 14d, and 18d.
    Thanks again.

  5. Did this instead of getting back into work emails. What a treat. Fair cluing and lots of ticks from me, 13a and 5a favourites bit plenty of other ticks to go around. Needed to unpack the anagram at 8a, which was new to me, to get 2d my LOI, but the palm to forehead moment as the penny dropped… Thanks and well done. Now I suppose I really will have to get to the email.

  6. Lots to like here – thanks Modica.
    I ticked 4a, 5d (neat use of ‘supper’) and 14d with my favourite being 2d.

  7. Another fan here. Most enjoyable. My only complaint being that it was all over far too soon!
    Much to enjoy, with 2d my stand-out favourite.
    More of the same, please!

  8. Welcome back, Modica.

    It’s nearly eighteen months since your Rookie Corner debut and I think you’ve made a lot of progress in that time. This puzzle was another enjoyable one to solve, but there were still a number of minor niggles. My Repetition Radar noticed “returned” used twice as a reversal indicator and “one” used twice to clue “I” and “accept” rather than “accepting” jarred in 18d as far as the cryptic grammar was concerned. Most of the surfaces were very good, but I did put question marks beside 22a, 23a and 18d which I found very unconvincing. I share RD’s reservations about 25a and 15d, and “open mouthed” (sic) in 14d ought to be hyphenated, but once again these are minor points and not hanging offences like indirect anagrams etc. My pick of the clues was 13a.

    Well done again, Modica, and thanks for an enjoyable solve.

  9. Thanks Modica – I enjoyed this. I really liked 13A – such a great idea! I also liked 1A, 23A and 21D for its economy. I wasn’t fond of 20A, 2D (though I seem to be in the minority there), 15D, and 19D – with the latter, I liked the idea but thought it could’ve been executed better. Generally good though – well done and thanks again.

  10. Welcome back, Modica. Much to enjoy in this one although I share the reservations already mentioned about 25a&15d.
    My ticks went to 13&21a plus 9&21d.

    Thanks for the puzzle, hope you’ll be with us again ‘ere long.

  11. A good puzzle overall, very enjoyable, thanks Modica
    I don’t really understand how the scrappy clues are making their way through to the finished product – either you or your test solver should be spotting these by now
    There are minor technical details (as per RD, Silvanus) but for me the bigger issue is surfaces such as 22a; mix oil and mud to get mathematical values? That should ring alarm bells
    As I said, a good puzzle overall but perhaps another test solver might pick up on one or two to have another look at to get you over the line?
    Well done and thanks for the entertainment

  12. I think this is one of the most enjoyable Rookie Corner puzzles I have ever done. Thank you very much, Modica.

  13. Many thanks to all who have commented. As always, I will take on board the criticisms and am grateful for the compliments. Off to get ready for Boris’s latest announcement now. I don’t think it will be good news. Whatever he says, I send my best wishes to you all and hope you stay safe and well. At least this blog provides a bit of relief in these difficult times.

  14. Apologies in advance but reporting on the new national lockdown rules for work has taken up the time when I would have completed the posted the review. It will be on-line tomorrow at some point.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Nice to see that there was very little technically wrong with this one, ‘the boy done good’!

  16. Just got round to this and found it an enjoyable solve. I did wonder when I got 4, 6 and 10 in quick succession if it was going to be a pangram but it ended up 3 letters short.
    Thanks, Modica, for the entertainment, and Prolixic, for the review.

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